MADISON, NJ - Monday night the 17th annual Taste of Madison fundraising event took place at the Brooklake Country Club in Florham Park and drew in hundreds of food-loving locals interested in sampling dishes from dozens of area restaurants. This annual event is sponsored by various local businesses and raises money for the Rotary Club of Madison, Madison Downtown Development Committee, and the Madison Chamber of Commerce.

“Each year this event just keeps getting bigger and better,” said Karen Giambra, Executive Director of the Madison Area Chamber of Commerce. “This year we sold a record number of VIP tickets and had a record number of local sponsors.”  

Chefs from 30 local restaurants cooked and served samples of their best selling dishes as well as some new items. Wine, beer and spirits were also provided by the event’s sponsor Gary’s Wine and Marketplace. Guests had the opportunity to take part in a silent auction, tricky tray and 50/50 raffle. All items for the auction were donated by local business and 'The Friends of Madison'.

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The staff of Hollenbach Family Chiropractic, one of the event’s sponsors, was one of the businesses selling Tricky Tray Tickets and collecting donations prior to the event. Office manager Jen Jones explained how the office became involved in Taste of Madison and why it is such an exiting event to take part in.

“Dr. Jim is very involved in the community and he knows a lot of people in town,” she said. “Besides being a fun and social event, it is great for business.”

Nancy E.Pagano Manager of il Mondo Vecchio, an authentic Italian restaurant in Madison that was named Best Italian Restaurant in Morris County by The Star Ledger, was stationed in this years dessert room.

“This event is a great social event,” she said. “Not only do you get to see a lot of the people from town who you know, but you also get to meet new people and bring in new customers.”

Along with Pagano in the dessert area was Baba’s Italian Bakery & Cafe who was participating in this event for the first time.

“When I first came here I didn’t know what to expect,” said Denise Luque. “It’s a great fundraising event and its really nice to meet so many new people.

In the main dining room, various local restaurants prepared and served some of their favorite dishes. Daddy Matty’s BBQ, participated in Taste of Madison for the second year in a row and served pulled pork sandwiches and other items from their menu.

“This event is just the thing to do in Madison,” said Matt James “head honcho” of Daddy Matty’s BBQ.

In addition to over 30 different food stations, attendees had the opportunity to sample dozens of types of wine, beer and spirits. David Laverghetta ,sales representative for Fedway Associates Inc. also attended Taste of Madison for the first time this year.

“It's just a great advertising event,” he says. “If people try our product and like it, they’ll buy it from us.”

Since 2002, The Taste of Madison has raised over $500,000 and has attracted 7000 plus guests. Previously held at the Park Avenue Club in Florham Park, this year the evening was relocated to the Brooklake Country Club due to renovations taking place at last year’s venue.

Madison Councilmen John Hoover is a member of the Madison Rotary Club and a volunteer at this event. Besides the endless amount of delicious food, he explained that Taste of Madison is such a beneficial event for the town for a number of reasons.  

“The Taste of Madison always brings everyone together,” he said. “It's great for both the residents and the businesses and everyone who attends is just happy.”